Top 5 Ramen Restaurants in Shinjuku
5. Fuunji (風雲児); Best Tsukemen
I have a bit of a love hate relationship with Fuunji as I will admit that they have a great Tsukemen, but I’m not the biggest fan of their customer service. What Fuunji lacks in customer service however they make up for in their soup. Fuunji is definitely the best place to grab a Noukou Tori Niboshi Tsukemen, a very popular tsukemen variety in Tokyo right now using a chicken and niboshi broth base, and thus just creeps in to my list at #5. Are there better tsukemen restaurants in Tokyo? Definitely. But if we’re only considering Shinjuku, this is probably the best in class.
4. Menya Sho (麺屋翔); Best Shio Ramen
If you’re looking for the best, foreign friendly ramen shop in Shinjuku, look no further than Menya Sho. Menya Sho provides excellent service and provides English menu for those who can’t read Japanese. In addition, the staff are incredibly friendly, they provide aprons and hair ties for your dining experience, and overall give a great, homely vibe. The most popular item on the menu is this Chicken Shio Ramen which is a chintan based soup where the broth is pulled from a gentle simmer of chicken and vegetables. The salt blend they use for their tare, or seasoning sauce, comes from four different countries. Definitely the best Shio Ramen in Shinjuku.
3. Menan Chitose (麺庵ちとせ); Best Overall Variety
If what you’re looking for is a variety of ramen types, or even a spicy kick, Menan Chitose is the place to come. Although it is a bit further away from Shinjuku station than the other restaurants on the list, Chitose is definitely worth that walk. The closest station is actually Akebonobashi which is only a 5 minute train ride from Shinjuku station so it is still relatively easy to get to. Pictured is their Shoyu Ramen, but they also have a spicy Tantanmen and no soup Tantanmen which are also very popular. Be sure to get there early, however, as they draw pretty long lines on weekends!
2. Konjiki Hototogisu (金色不如帰); Michelin Guide One Star Recipient
So there is a on going debate regarding the best ramen shop in Shinjuku and I think it’s a pretty fair argument for both Konjiki Hototogisu and Ramen Hayashida. It was a difficult choice, but I had to give second prize to Hototogisu. If I could, I would put the two as 1a and 1b, but decided just to do it this way for consistency with my other top 5 lists. Honestly the main reason for putting Hototogisu is purely the fact that I’m not the biggest fan of shellfish based ramen. Not to say their ramen is bad, it is actually amazing and up there in my favorite shellfish ramen. The shop is definitely deserving of their Michelin Star and you’ll definitely feel the upscale vibe as soon as you walk in from the service to the interior decor. If you’re looking for that special, Michelin star experience, definitely make your way to Konjiki Hototogisu.
1. Ramen Hayashida (らぁ麺 はやし田); Best in Shinjuku…. by far
I’m actually quite surprised that Ramen Hayashida hasn’t received a Michelin Star yet, or at least a Bib Gourmand. The ramen here is absolutely fantastic and has climbed up in my favorite ramen shops that I have visited in 2019 ranking. While their regular menu consists of a Shoyu Ramen and Tsukemen, their limited Nodoguro Ramen is probably one of the best bowls I have ever had. The broth is made from simmering Nodoguro, a fish in the sea bass family that produces amazing flavors. Due to the popularity and price of the Nodoguro, they only serve a limited number of bowls a day, but it is definitely worth the wait in the morning for this one. I can’t say enough about Hayashida and hope they get the recognition they deserve in the 2020 Michelin Guide.